2016 sees the release of (hed)P.E.’s 10th and outstanding studio album Forever! which is the much anticipated follow up to the highly acclaimed 2014 album ‘Evolution’, which was ultimately hailed by Metal Hammer Magazine as “(hed)P.E.’s finest album since their heyday.” Jahred had this to say about his record, “In ‘Forever!’ we blend Godzilla riffs with beats that will hypnotize. The vocals strike proper balance between rock, punk, hip hop and reggae. It’s a soundtrack for life.”
How the hell do you ignore a shameless plug like that when it comes straight from the horse’s mouth? (Not saying that Jahred looks like a horse or anything). Released on the 22nd of July I am somewhat miffed and saddened, (and desperately trying to put my nose that is well out of joint back to centre isn’t bloody easy), that I’m only getting to this record now! The evolution of this band over the years is phenomenal and inspiring to say the least. Always fresh; always upping their game and pushing the boundaries, if there is such a thing as a boundary with these guys. With all that said, every damn track on this album is a masterpiece, but we’ll explore just a few of the stand out tracks that I feel need to be highlighted to get your taste buds all tingly, this may induce severe drooling and a need to run out and buy the album, if you haven’t already done so. Be warned.
‘Live’ is the first tune on this record and what a mighty effort this one is. It’s totally reminiscent of the days of ‘Killing Time,’ which for me will always be the signature tune I associate with this band. But this is something else, this has gone up more than a couple of notches, this is brutality and Jahred is right, it’s hypnotic! A down tuned bass line that grabs you by the short and curly bits and tugs like hell! The riff on this will stick to your brain like a leech on steroids. You’ll love this song, it will be a beast live!
‘Pay Me’ has a slower and lower burning death-metal feel to it. The deep chugging guitars pull at you fiercely to bang your head, mosh or be moshed, into the ground! A very powerful and intense tune with inspiring but very poignant lyrics. ‘Hurt’ again is hard as nails and punches well below the belt where most of us metal heads like it. This tune has a mix of musical influences with outstanding vocals catching you off guard now and again as you find yourself helplessly saying out loud, woah! A very reggae undertone with satanically inspired riffs; it actually sounds like old Lucifer was there in person at times to do a spot of vocal duties in the chorus, and I’m pretty darn sure it was him.
‘Jahknow’ is more melodic with again brilliant, but cleaner, vocals this time. This little beauty is easier on the ears and offers a nice break from the previous hellish brutal metal. Don’t get too comfortable though because your energy level is still being tested every step of the way. The riff on this track is downright awesome and I just can’t find any other way to describe it. It’s beautiful.
From here on in the album slowly leaves the beast riffing behind and turns its sights towards sunny islands as the reggae/hiphop just takes over, but it’s amazing to be part of a journey on an album like this and actually feel like you’re being carried away on the current of a warm and soothing sea; very clever indeed boys.
And so this delectable album closes with a bonus track, ‘Ganja.’ This one absolutely took me back to my childhood. The very first records I owned were all reggae that my neighbour gave me for babysitting. Stop laughing, true story. The point is, this song sounds like it was created 38 years ago and it sounds exactly like the records I had then, with that wonderful, sun inspired ease of lazing about except that I obviously wasn’t partaking of anything that would, ahem, impair my vision or mood.
(hed)P.E. has created something very special and to quote Jahred again, “It’s a soundtrack for life.” A ballsy, no bullshit album that takes you from one end of the rock/metal spectrum to the other – inspiring and a complete feast for the ears.
ONE OF A KIND
THE HIGHER CROWN
GANJA (Bonus Track)